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The project that I want to write about this week is part of the Future Forward event in New York City, Drift, a thermal-responsive chandelier that interact with the lighting system in the gallery space. The reason this project stuck with me is that, while we are trying to achieve interaction with complicated electronic and digital tools, Doris Sung chose a totally different approach from her experience as an architect in experimenting with materials, made Drift itself free from electronics and digital controls, saying the installation is “something natural and seemingly unlikely”. How it works is that when the light beams change their path on the structure, then change the heat distribution in the region, that the pieces in the chandelier made of heat-sensitive metal change the curvature and tension accordingly, change the overall appearance of the whole structure. The way the metal pieces move one by one and try to slowly going back to balance is really mesmerizing, and I imagine it would be calming to watch even for hours. In fact it demonstrates the capabilities for smart buildings to move with trajectory of the sun in the future.

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Aside from the movement of the pieces of the structure, the material itself creates a very soothing dynamic in the space: the shimmering reflections of the metal pieces changing when people walk by, or the tilted and slightly swinging metal line where the light comes through when others stands still. In the very short video about the making of this installation, Doria Sung also dis Use the idea of balance and pivoting, she said by using the idea of balance and pivoting, there is a position that it wants to naturally be in. That reminds me of the waterwheel, a traditional water transportation system that turns according to the accumulation of water in each slot, an elegant integration of nature and human activities.

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